The Ordinary Skincare Regimen Guide

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So, I'm a late-adopter to the serum game. I wanted to thoroughly educate myself before jumping on the band wagon. I discovered The Ordinary through friends and colleagues that raved about the business model. The products are priced exceptionally low ($5.80 and up) and the brand doesn't spend any money on marketing except for its social media channel. This means no fluffy packaging and no fluffy marketing language. If you're planning on purchasing from The Ordinary, keep in mind that it is constantly dealing with stock issues because the products sell out quickly. The point of The Ordinary is to use single ingredients to build and curate a skincare routine that is customized for you.

I spent some time on the website, Reddit boards, and watching YouTube reviews so I could get an idea of what products my skin needed and how to properly use serums. The low price point was also a way for me to be introduced to serums without breaking the bank. Here's a quick guide I put together on how to get into the serum game and my starter kit recs.

1. IDENTIFY AREAS OF YOUR SKIN THAT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT

Write down what areas of your skin you'd like to improve. Is your skin dry? Do you want to reduce redness, aging, dryness? I wanted to hydrate my skin, reduce the appearance of fine lines and dark circles under my eyes.

2. CHOOSE THE PRODUCTS THAT TARGET YOUR PROBLEM AREAS

When you first look at the labels on the products, it can feel overwhelming because its heavy on the scientific terminology. But, I'd trade scientific based info versus marketing fluff any day! Take a few minutes to learn about what problems each product solves and choose accordingly. 

Remember, skincare regimens are different for everyone, so adjust your routine according to your skin's needs. Consider your skin's sensitivity levels and start out with less potent products to see how your skin reacts. 

3. USE THE SERUMS AS INSTRUCTED

Pay close attention to instructions on the box. A good rule of thumb is to consider the product's consistency and apply the thinnest, lightest products first and finish with the heavier, thicker products. For example, the water based serums should be applied before the oil based serums.

Every serum is different! Keep in mind that some serums are better for the AM than the PM while other serums can be used both night and day. For example, acid serums are potent and should only be used 2-3x a week.  Allow each product to absorb into the skin before applying the next.

4. INTEGRATE IT INTO OVERALL SKINCARE ROUTINE

I recommend having both an AM and PM routine. My AM routine is as follows 1) Cleanser 2) Toner 3) Serums 4) Eye Cream 5) Moisturizer 6) Sunscreen. Applying your skin care products properly and in the correct order will ensure that the products work as they're intended to and that your skin receives the full benefits of each.
 

STARTER KIT RECOMMENDATIONS

Please keep in mind these serums work differently on skin types. Always spot test to see if your skin has any negative reactions before applying regularly.

THE ORDINARY Buffet - $14.80

Targets: Fine lines, wrinkles, dynamic lines, textural irregularities
Time of Day: AM and PM
Water or Oil: Water
How to Use: Apply to entire face
Review: Its gel-like and absorbs into the skin quickly. Its the first serum I use on my face in both my AM and PM routine.  It helps even out my skin tone and combat the redness. 
 

Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG - $6.70

Targets: Dark circles under eye, puffiness
Time of Day: AM and PM
Water or Oil: Oil
How to Use: Massage a small amount onto eye contours
Review: My holy grail product for the area under my eyes. I instantly feel it working and over the past 2 weeks of using it day and night, my circles have lightened and puffiness reduced
 

100% organic cold-pressed rose hip seed oil - $9.80

Targets: Supports healthy skin
Time of Day: AM or PM (once a day only)
Water or Oil: Oil
How to use: A few drops over face
Review: Great for winter skin. I use this as the last step in my nighttime routine. It doesn't sink into my skin as well as I like but I wake up with fresh, dewy skin every time I use it. 
 

Alpha Lipoic Acid 5% - $6.80

Targets: Aging, lackluster skin
Time of Day: AM or PM (2-3x a week only)
How to use: Apply 2-3 drops over entire face
Review: Use with discretion. Its very potent and the most problematic for sensitive skin. If I had to choose one product from The Ordinary, it would be this one! I can feel the heat from the acid as soon as it touches my face. I use this twice a week and every time I've used it, I've woke up with visibly brighter and clearer skin.  a